Availability: Mid-October – December

ABV: 11.0%

Appearance: Ruby Red

Aroma: “Spicy” strong hints of clove

Taste: Spicy

Mouthfeel: Tart and carbonated

Perceived Bitterness: 15 IBUs. It has a bite but that is more from the alcohol content and the spices used than actual bitters.

Aftertaste: The flavor lingers and as your mouth dries from the initial sip the spice really stands out with the cinnamon and clove lingering.


If you reached this part of the post you are curious about my thoughts on Troegs’ Mad Elf… or you are a glutton for punishment with nothing better to do than read my review. You may also be ready to point out that I am reviewing a beer that is no longer available come January. I understand this may be frustrating for some but fear not, it will be back in October.

This beer has a sentimental appeal for me. This is why I am reviewing it despite the fact that it will be another 9 months before you can get your hands on a fresh batch of these again. When I first started getting into craft beer I was not especially picky about what I tried. To be honest, I still am not. My brother, business partner, and friend Ben has been honing and refining his skills in many aspects of the hospitality industry for years. With that he found enjoyment in seeking out new beers for me to try and I was always happy to put them to the test. During years of trying different varietals this one always stood out and hence the sentimental value.

While my taste preference leans towards stouts and porters this is a beer that truly breaks the mold and can be enjoyed for those bold enough to stand up to the taste. Troegs Mad Elf is made from ripened cherries, raw honey and cocoa with notes of cinnamon, clove and allspice. Combined with the high alcohol content this beer packs a serious bite. However, it is very easy to enjoy and can help take the chill out of the air and make a cold day feel warm.

If you have the desire and restraint to do so this beer also ages very well. I have managed to age it up to three years. While I confess that I can’t give exact differences I was able to notice that the beer becomes smoother with age. This does not mean that it loses the bite. Instead it just calms down with the initial carbonated feel on the front end.

I hope when you get a chance to try it that you enjoy it as much as I do and make sure you have it when you have nowhere important to be. This beer has a very high alcohol content and will sneak up on you if you are not careful. Perhaps it isn’t just a clever name…